A: You can count your blessings every day that you didn't marry lying, cheating, manipulative Joey. Let's hope Joey truly has seen the error of his ways and will be a great husband to Ellie. He never would have been one to you. So hug your great boyfriend tight tonight. And on the wedding day smile as you toast the happy couple.
Q. Re: But I Didn't Stay True to Him: You provided him with a very convenient excuse to dump you and go on to some other sucker who thinks that a married man is "100 percent committed to him."
Q. Red Flag?: I am a zaftig woman of 40 yrs. I recently met a man who asked me out on a date. We went to dinner and had a nice time, but during dinner he said that he was attracted to me because of my weight (he likes big girls) he asked me what size I wore and how much I weighed. I was put off by that and told him so, he blew it off like it was nothing. Now I think he has a big girl fetish and is not really interested in me. We have not been out since ... I am skittish. Is this my issue? Is it any different if a man says he likes big breasts and only goes out with women with big breasts? Or am I wise to move on?
A: I understand that people have types, or even fixations, but I agree it's creepy to be reduced to a single attribute on someone's arousal list. In any case, if he wasn't a creep he'd have been turned on by your body but want to get to know you better to see if you were compatible as people. All he wanted was some statistics to file away for his erotic purposes. Yech!
Q. Takeout Tipping: I frequently get takeout and eat in at a local Chinese restaurant. Recently the waitresses began adding a 20 percent tip to my bill whenever I dine in. I always tip at least 15 percent when I dine in and reserve 20-30 percent tips for outstanding service, which the waitresses at this restaurant rarely provide. One day, one of the waitresses told me that they added the 20 percent tip to my bill because I don't tip when I get takeout. I was mortified—my parents and most close friends don't tip when they got takeout, and I usually only tip on takeout if the waiters and I have a good conversation. What's the socially acceptable take on takeout tipping? I probably won't return to this restaurant—their egg rolls are so good! —but I would love to know for the future.
A: Even if you never tipped, the waitress is not allowed to add 20 percent of her own volition. But in previous tipping questions readers have let me know that 15 percent is no longer standard, it's cheapskate, and I agree that 20 percent is the new 15. I normally add $5 to an average carryout order to cover the packing materials. But I'd be happy to hear what other people do. As for this restaurant, if you truly love the eggrolls just start adding 20 percent to the bill and roll with it.
Q. Marriage (Married the Perfect Guy, but Maybe the Wrong Guy for Me): I am married to a kind, generous, attractive, wonderful man. The problem? I am not attracted to him. Actually, I am sometimes turned-off by him. I have battled these feelings since before we even got married. I think I married him because he is such a wonderful person, and I thought I would be blowing it if I passed on the opportunity to spend my life with someone who treats me so well. He knows that I have issues with attraction to him. Right now, I consider us great roommates and friends, but not lovers. The turn-offs? First, in the time that I have known him, he has become increasingly involved with transcendental meditation, spending hours a day on it, and traveling all over the country for extended conferences. He's so sensitive that he won't even kill a bug that's indoors—he picks it up and puts it outside. How can I even think about leaving someone who is so good to me? Who does that? Help—I have a 90 percent perfect marriage, but that 10 percent that's missing is killing me. Wanting 10 percent more.
A: You've got your percentages reversed. A marriage in which one partner is not attracted to the other and is actually contemptuous of the other's deeply held views sounds unsalvageable. Of course he treats you wonderfully—he treats cockroaches like precious jewels. But you're treating him like an ego boost not a husband. I think you should let him find another gentle soul who after meditating with him and shooing out the bugs, wants to get him into bed for hours of tantric sex.
Q. Re: Takeout Tipping: Why didn't you advise the LW to let a manager know? I would think this is against company policy and considered STEALING. A waitress cannot dictate what she receives in tips. I would never go to this establishment again unless she were fired. How rude!
A: I agree that a discussion with the manager would be appropriate, although given how the restaurant is run this likely will have little effect. (Although as another letter writer suggests, it could get the waitress spitting into your lo mein.) This sounds like an inexpensive joint, the letter writer loves the food, and a 20 percent tip is only going to be a few dollars.
Q: Back and Forth Boyfriend: I have a very nice guy who has been in and out of my life for a variety of reasons. He's getting himself together, and we're thinking about starting a romantic relationship again. The problem is my friends. They are all very intellectual and put a high premium on reading and knowing the current events of the day, as do I. He barely passed high school and has tried college several times. He's so intimidated by my friends that he starts explaining the simplest concepts of whatever we're talking about at the time, and he babbles on and on. I've tried tapping him on the shoulder or nudging him to let him know it's time to let someone else speak or simply to distract him, but he doesn't take the hint and consistently sticks his foot in his mouth and insults my friends by explaining common knowledge concepts to them. I believe he thinks it makes him sound intelligent. He thinks he is keeping up in the conversations, but I've had several people approach me asking why I'm with him and why I bring him around if he's going to talk down to everyone. I'm not sure about where we are going romantically, but he is a very old friend and I want to include him in my life. What can I do to help him?
A: From your own description I understand your friends' bafflement. Maybe they are snobs, but when your friend is around them he acts like an insecure jerk. Your description of him doesn't list any of his fine qualities, just that he is a nice guy with plenty of struggles and you've known him for a long time. If you like the idea of rescuing someone, there is a difference between being supportive and taking on a project. As depicted by you, he doesn't sound like promising romantic material. But if he's an old friend, then you should be able to tell him that you understand your other friends are intimidating, but when you're all together you'd love to see him just relax and be himself and not feel as if he has something to prove. Say he has lots of interesting things to say and it would be good for everyone to steer the conversation away from current events. Then you should bring up some topics that will allow your friend to truly contribute.
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